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An Avant-Garde Christmas Concert by the S.F. Conservatory of New Music Ensemble

Published December 3, 1970

On December 3, 1970 the San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble presented this Avant-Garde Christmas Concert, at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. The concert begins with “The Queens’ Funeral March and Canzona,” which was originally composed by Henry Purcell as incidental music for a play but was used for the funeral procession of Queen Mary in 1695. It has been orchestrated here by Robert Moran. This is followed by Purcell’s “Fantazia No. 6” and a reprise of the “March,” all orchestrated by Moran in which no notes have been added or subtracted, but merely reassigned to different instruments. We then hear an original composition by Moran, based on a simple two voice musical example by Purcell and entitled “Variations for Mr. Purcell.” The concert then takes a distinctly more modern turn with Shinʾichi Matsushita aleatoric work for instrumental ensemble, “Subject 17,” which takes as its score a number of beautiful and delicately crafted abstract drawings to be interpreted by the musicians. Guest artists the G.L. Bedford Specials. a gospel choir under the direction of Justin Cummings then perform a selection of gospel music. Following an intermission the concert continues with two short avant-garde pieces, John Cage’s “Music for Amplified Toy Pianos,” and Henri Peusseur’s “Madrigal 2.” The evening’s varied proceedings conclude with Erik Satie’s miniature puppet opera “Genevieve de Brabant.” Composed at the turn of the 20th century but only discovered after Satie’s death in 1925, the opera, with a libretto by J. P. Contamine de Latour, relates a French medieval tale of a faithful wife falsely accused but eventually vindicated. This particular version has been orchestrated by Ivan Tcherepnin and Howard Hersh.

Run time 81 min


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